Cooler times for home loan mar­ket

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - BUSINESS -

IT seems Aus­tralians took a break from the prop­erty mar­ket over the fes­tive sea­son, send­ing home loan ap­provals to a seven-month low.

The num­ber of ap­provals slumped by a sharper than ex­pected 3.9 per cent in Jan­uary, with falls in loans to both owner-oc­cu­piers and in­vestors.

AMP Cap­i­tal chief econ­o­mist Shane Oliver said weaker home lend­ing in the first month of 2016 fol­lowed sev­eral strong months, and wouldn’t be overly con­cern­ing to the Re­serve Bank.

“The big sur­prise was the pull­back in owner-oc­cu­pied lend­ing,” he said.

The value of owner-oc­cu­pier loan ap­provals de­clined 4.3 per cent, which ANZ econ­o­mists said re­flected the damp­en­ing im­pact on hous­ing sales of mort­gage rate in­creases late in 2015. The value of in­vestor lend­ing also fell, down 1.6 per cent in Jan­uary, and down al­most 15 per cent from a year ear­lier. “We are now see­ing a gen­eral cool­ing in hous­ing mar­ket ac­tiv­ity,” the ANZ econ­o­mists said. But Dr Oliver said De­cem­ber and Jan­uary hous­ing mar­ket data tends to be less re­li­able due to the hol­i­day sea­son.

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